How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

Two weeks? one month? How long do acrylic nails last? If you are just getting into the world of acrylic manicures, this can be your first source of anxiety. Acrylics are a nail art investment that costs time and money, and you have to make sure that these artificial nails last as long as possible. When it comes to the topic of durability, it depends on several factors. Therefore, you will likely find a wide range of answers on this topic. 

According to Cosmopolitan, a full set of acrylic fake nails can last anywhere from six to eight weeks. However, you need to visit your favorite nail technician every 2 to 3 weeks to fill in the space created by the growth of your natural nails. The duration of acrylics can vary from one person to another. Nevertheless, experts advise that you should never go beyond three weeks without going for a fill and nail treatment. This helps to take the pressure from the lifted expansion off your natural nails. It can also lower your risk of a fungal infection.  

In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Paloma Banks, the founder of Pili’s Nail Salon, says, “Acrylics should last two to three weeks before they need fills or removal. This can vary from person to person. Some people can go for three weeks with barely any lifting while others – particularly those with naturally very oily nails or nail biters – may find theirs lift a lot sooner.” 

The kind of work you do with your nails can affect its durability. But, the bulk of durability has to do with the quality of the nails. This is why it is always important to get your nails from a reliable source.

Will Expensive Acrylic Nails Last Longer Than the Cheap Ones?

Expensive doesn’t always equate to high quality. Unfortunately, that is what a lot of people think. Some shops leverage on this to rip off their customers. They prey on the ignorance of amateur buyers by selling them cheap acrylic nail products at a premium. Acrylic nails are made by combining the acrylic powder with liquid monomer. The resulting mixture dries faster than gel nails or dip powder.

Acrylic nails will usually cost anywhere from 10 to 30 dollars depending on the shape, embellishment, and finishing. The bulk of the fee will usually come from your nail artist—if you decide to visit a salon. You may decide to boycott this fee by doing it yourself. 

Nail techs usually charge a premium for their services. However, you are sure to get a professional finish that will also help your nails to last longer. So, although expensive acrylic nails don’t always translate to durability, you can’t expect salon-level durability from amateur nail artists or DIY kits. 

What Will Happen If You Allow the Acrylic to Stay Too Long?

The major issue with allowing acrylic to stay for too long is the increased risk of infection. When you continually bump your nails, gaps may develop between the acrylic nail and your natural nail bed. The resulting gap allows moisture to collect, thereby creating the perfect environment for fungal growth. This is usually more common when nails are left for up to three months. Bacteria or fungal infection is also common when nails are re-glued without properly cleaning the gap. 

Some skin types are very sensitive to some of the chemicals used in the fixing of acrylic nails. Therefore, the longer they stay in contact, the higher the likelihood of developing an allergic skin reaction. This allergy can manifest in different ways, including swelling, redness, or itching around the nail. In extreme cases, this reaction can lead to the separation of the natural nail from the nail bed. This is a really painful experience—and you wouldn’t want to experience it.

The third problem that may arise if you allow your acrylic nails to stay too long is that the chemicals may lead to the drying of the natural oils of your nails. This makes your nails brittle, which encourages nail breakage or loss. Therefore, while you try to get the most value for the time and money you spent on your acrylic nails, it is important to know when to draw the line.

Are There Tips to Make Acrylic Nails Last Longer?

The steps to making your acrylic last longer begin with the preparation process. High-quality acrylic nails can still fail to last long if they are glued to unprepared nails. It’s important to have fairly even small nail growth before applying acrylic. The founder of New York City’s Vanity Projects nail salon, Rita de Alencar Pinto, explains it all. “Acrylics adhere better if you have even just a couple of millimeters of natural nail growth. You’ll want to grow out your nails even just a tiny bit prior to your appointment.”

There are tips that you should follow at home to help your nails last longer. According to Paloma, these tips may sound like commonplace knowledge, but it is easy for people to ignore them. They are as follows:

  • Regular wearing of gloves whenever you are washing or doing housework
  • For those that spend a lot of time typing, it is important to use the pad of your fingers rather than your nails
  • Be more cautious when you pick up or open things to avoid having particles get underneath your nails
  • Keep your hands clean at all times through regular and thorough washing
  • Moisturize your cuticles daily using cuticle oils as this helps in hydrating your nails as well as help them to stay healthy

Tips to Make Acrylic Nails Last Longer Between Appointments

Although the length of time acrylic nails should stay on your hand is debatable, one area that experts have found common ground is the frequency of appointments with your nail artists. Ideally, you should schedule an appointment with your nail artist every two weeks. However, as we mentioned earlier, never go for three weeks without seeing your nail artist. 

There are lots of posts that talk about finding the right nail artist and the importance of choosing the right products, especially if you want long nails. However, there are very few articles that fill the gap of what to do in-between appointments. One of the best pieces of advice we found was in a Bustle magazine’s interview with a Los Angeles-based nail artist, Christa Cole:

Use Premium Topcoats and Nail Polishes

To keep your acrylic looking new, you need to polish them often. Christa suggests the use of gel polish on your acrylic to help them last longer. She uses them on her clients because they dry faster. This is particularly important because people are always in a hurry to use their hands. Christa suggests you combine this with a good, fast-drying topcoat. A good layer of topcoat will keep everything shiny and prevent flaking of your polish. You should do this as frequently as possible while waiting for your next appointment. 

Regular Use of Moisturizer

Keeping your hands moisturized can prolong the lifespan of your acrylic nails. Regular moisturizing is also good for the health of your skin. Christa said, “It’s all about conditioning. Apply oil to your cuticles and nails to keep them soft and healthy. It’s also important to keep your hands and fingers moisturized to prevent your nails from drying out.”

How to Make DIY Acrylic Nails Last Longer

Yes, all the articles will tell you to visit a nail artist to apply your acrylics if you want them to last longer. But, does that mean you can’t DIY? Certainly not! Visiting a nail salon can incur a steep price. If you opt for DIY, here are what you should do. 

  • Find the right size for each nail from the pack of acrylic tips. Note that the acrylic tips are applied from about half-way your natural nail. Therefore, you may need to buffer them to fit properly
  • Prepare your nails for the application by cleaning and trimming them. Ensure you leave few millimeters of the nail to support the acrylic
  • Buffer the surface of your nail to give it a slightly coarse texture. This creates the right surface for your acrylic to attach
  • Thoroughly clean the surface of your natural nails using a remover. This helps to get rid of dirt, dust, and grease that may come in the way of your application
  • Apply a thin coat of nail primer. Be careful so that it doesn’t smear on your skin
  • Dab some glue across the entire top half of your nail
  • Place the acrylic tip and hold it down for 5 to 10 seconds
  • Place your brush into the acrylic liquid. Then, press it to the side of the bowl to eliminate excess liquid
  • Swirl the brush in the acrylic powder
  • Spread the mixture from the base of your finger to the tip. The goal is to create a smooth transition from the natural nail to the false nail
  • Repeat the process for other nails
  • Allow drying then buff till you get a natural look

Acrylic nails are the rave of the moment, particularly on social media. However, in all you do, never forget to pay attention to the health of your natural nails. If you think you can’t fix it yourself, don’t risk it. 

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